With a busy Summer ahead, one of my main aims is to tackle more of the Glasgow and Edinburgh food scene and tick some more food places off my list whenever possible. With an invite to try out a new hot spot in Glasgow’s Southside, I just couldn’t say no and travelled through to this side of the city on another delightful Summer’s evening in the hope of a good cocktail and even better food. With a recent refurbishment under its belt, Church On The Hill reopened its doors in April and is quite evidently a favourite of many, whether you’re a South-sider or from the great beyond. Now with this being a place my friend Gillian would venture out to for food well before it became even more trendy, it was only fair to share the experience with her.
We are all well aware that the World Cup has now come to a head for another 4 years but with it at peak time during our visit, the TVs located around the place guaranteed that you wouldn’t miss one of Harry Kane’s famous goals, with the option of sitting outside in the glorious weather, which plenty of people were taking advantage of, or sitting inside and enjoying the refurbishment in all its glory. We chose to sit indoors and the cool conditions inside were just what we were after.
So the refurbishment itself? I’m not one to comment on this as I had never visited before it was given a makeover, however Gillian is the girl for giving her honest opinion, having seen the before and after of The Church On The Hill. She was impressed, and after half an hour every seat in the house ended up taken, so I think it’s safe to say that everyone else is loving the new sophisticated look and fantastic atmosphere.
For the evening we were being served by the lovely Kayleigh who managed our table a long with 50% of the other tables in the room, and despite how busy it was she couldn’t have been more friendly, attentive, and overall enthusiastic about the place. Before we even got to the food menu, the cocktail menu GRABBED our attention and I opted for my usual go to cocktail… a Pornstar Martini whilst Gillian decided to try something new, a Pear Fizz. This was the best Pornstar Martini I’ve had (I literally mean that) and I’ve had many of them and from many different places, even Gillian agreed with me. Her Pear Fizz was different but in a good way, that’s why she opted for the exact same cocktail for the second round, whilst I went for a Passionfruit Dacquiri. That’s one thing I loved about The Church On The Hill, they offer many of their cocktails in different flavours, including passionfruit, which meant I could try out some other cocktails but stick with my favourite passionfruit flavour. If this sunshine keeps up then I’ll be very tempted to go back just for a cocktail. For starters I went for the haggis lollipops with the peppercorn sauce and wow the portion was generous, this was the perfect size for a starter, it hit the spot but left me feeling content until my main course arrived. Whenever I see the word haggis on a menu my mind has already been made up for me, it’s one of my favourite things and combined with the peppercorn sauce, it was just delicious. This is the kind of starter I’d repeatedly order. Gillian went for the crispy fill wrapped salmon, with chargrilled spring onions, watercress, and a lemon & herb dressing, and I definitely regret turning down the offer to sample this (what was I thinking?!). This is a starter I’d order next time as it was one Gillian highly recommended. After having a haggis based starter, when I spotted one of the main courses which surprise surprise…involved haggis, I can’t say I wasn’t tempted. However, I’m always on the lookout for a good old macaroni cheese as this is one of my favourite dishes and a dish I feel can go totally wrong or totally right as I’m quite particular when it comes to this pasta dish. After spotting this on the menu I decided to give it a try and ordered the 3 cheese baked macaroni, with the 3 cheeses being smoked applewood, mull cheddar sauce, parmesan and a touch of tomato ragu. This was a plate of cheesy goodness and I struggled to finish it all it was so rich and filling. The tomato ragu distinguished this macaroni from any other macaroni I’ve had before and gave it that extra touch of flavour.
Gillian went for the chicken balmoral kiev (a crispy haggis stuffed chicken breast with bacon mash, charred spring onion & peppercorn sauce). I’m secretly so happy she ordered this as it gave me the chance to try it and realise that The Church On The Hill offers very good food which will without a doubt have me going back for more sometime soon. Anytime I’ve tried chicken balmoral, it’s consisted of a chicken breast with the haggis perched on top, but this was so much better being kiev style and the haggis being stuffed inside the chicken. The mains sure didn’t disappoint with the menu providing plenty of choice to meet the needs of all types of foodies. If you’ve read any of my food related posts then it’ll be clear that I always go for dessert, so it’s no big shock that we both ordered dessert, in particular the dark chocolate brownie, vanilla ice-cream, chocolate sauce and raspberries. I JUST LOVE CHOCOLATE. Anything cheesecake or chocolate related was made for me and this brownie cured any chocolatey cravings I was having that night. Brownie points (no pun intended) were given with the raspberries that came with the brownie, I love nothing more than a chocolate brownie combined with the fruit flavour of fresh sour raspberries, it’s a winner in my eyes. The 3 courses that I had were nothing but greatness and all I could have asked for, quick (despite how busy it was), great portion sizes, and overall tasty.
Not wanting to leave just yet (partly because we were too full to move) and with the after work banter and football atmosphere intensifying, Gillian decided to try out the Martin Miller gin, a strawberry and cracked black pepper gin, with Fever-Tree elderflower tonic. Gin is the BIG thing these days and with her being what you would call a gin connoisseur, it was only right for her to try something different. Otherwise you can enjoy your gin your way by picking your gin, your tonic, your garnish, and then sitting back and enjoying it in all its glory. Keeping with the alcoholic beverage chat, a concept I was drawn to and that is definitely encouraging me to visit again is the ‘Pimp my Prosecco‘ that I spotted on the drinks menu, whereby you can bling up your fizz with two 50ml measures of your choice of gin (the raspberry one caught my eye). This would be the new member of your gang on a night out and it won’t be long till I’m back to the Southside for some jazzy Prosecco.
Overall my visit to The Church On The Hill was an absolute treat, its glowing from its new look as is anyone who visits this place because it’s guaranteed you’ll have a good time, whether you’re there for a few after work drinks or some food to line your stomach. First impressions are important and this Southside hot spot has left a lasting impression, so much so that I can’t wait for my next visit.